Land Rover Steps Up for Wild Life Conservation
Land Rover has agreed to a major new sponsorship with the Born Free Foundation, one of the world’s foremost wildlife charities, continuing its successful Global Conservation Partnership first forged in 2002 and confirming Born Free as its primary global conservation partner.
The Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity, devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare. Born Free takes action worldwide to protect threatened species and stop individual animal suffering.
The Born Free Foundation was founded by the actors Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna OBE in 1984. Although based in the UK, its umbilical cord was buried in the Kenyan soil owing its links to George and Joy Adamson and the classic wildlife film Born Free film. The film immortalised the extraordinary true tale of Elsa the lioness and George and Joy Adamson’s battle to return her to the wild.
The origin of Land Rover’s historic association with Born Free goes back to the beginning where Land Rovers were featured in the film, starring the Foundation’s founders, Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, which was acted in Kenya.
The requirement was then as it is now to rely on the Land Rover vehicles to reach the wildlife in the most remote of locations. The film is credited with putting Kenya on the global tourism and conservation map.
Since 1948, Land Rover has been manufacturing authentic 4x4s that represent true breadth of capability across the model range. Defender, Freelander, Discovery, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover and Range Rover Evoque each define the world’s 4x4 sectors. Land Rover products are currently sold in about 180 global markets.
Land Rover has expressed commitment to continuing to provide the Foundation with practical help by supplying vehicles as well as financial backing for the next five years, reflecting its integrated approach to building global sustainability.
The new sponsorship programme will see Land Rover vehicles deployed by the Born Free Foundation in Kenya, India and South Africa where they support the charity’s vital field work. Additional support will assist conservation and wild animal welfare initiatives in other parts of Africa and southern Asia while in the UK, where the charity is based, Born Free Land Rovers assist with logistical support and charity ambassador duties.
It was described by The Times as “Big Enough to make a difference but small enough to care”. Today, led by the couple’s son Will Travers, Born Free takes action worldwide to save wild animal lives, stop suffering, rescue individuals and protect species.
The Foundation is a dynamic, international wildlife charity, devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare and was founded by actors Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna OBE in 1984.
The Born Free Foundation was founded in 1984 by actors and wildlife campaigners Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, who were inspired by their involvement in the 1960’s classic film Born Free. Today the charity is led by their son Will and it has become a global force for compassionate conservation. Working on the principle of caring for wildlife in the wild, its activities not only protect some of the world’s most at-risk species, but also raise awareness of how people and wildlife can better co-exist.
Land Rover’s on-going partnership will help sustain some of the Foundation’s most important projects. In Kenya, a fleet of Land Rover Defenders enables its teams, working with the Kenya Wildlife Service, to reach remote areas to apprehend poachers and remove deadly traps. During times of severe drought, the Land Rovers have also provided a lifeline, bringing food to animals in danger of starvation.
The fate of the African lion and the charity are inextricably linked, they feature Elsa the lioness on their logo and the true story of her journey to freedom inspires everything the charity does. The Born Free story has been enjoyed by tens of millions around the globe, inspiring a generation and changing the world’s attitude to wildlife forever.
In 2002, Born Free established an office in Kenya to coordinate support for projects in the region. These include elephant studies in Amboseli and Mount Elgon, support of the Kenya Wildlife Service elephant and giraffe relocation team and vet unit, lion conflict resolution, anti-poaching patrols, snare removal, bushmeat awareness, legislative reform and protecting the Mount Kenya and Tsavo/ Mkomazi eco-systems.
The charity, in collaboration
Land Rover’s on-going partnership will help sustain some of the Foundation’s most important projects. In Kenya, a fleet of Land Rover Defenders enables its teams, working with the Kenya Wildlife Service, to reach remote areas to apprehend poachers and remove deadly traps
with Kenya Wildlife Service and the local Maasai community, has supported the construction of about 65 lion-proof bomas in Amboseli. The community members now promote peaceful co-existence between predators and people and no longer see the need for retaliatory killing of carnivores. Kenya Airways this year joined forces with the charity to raise funds for wildlife conservation in Kenya and across Africa. This year Kenya marks the 24th anniversary of the death of George Adamson.
In Ethiopia Land Rover Defenders are deployed as part of the Born Free Foundation’s efforts to protect the world’s rarest wolf species, while in South Africa the vehicles are essential tools for the team at its two Big Cat Rescue Centres, based at Shamwari, Eastern Cape. Further vehicle support helps make a difference in Malawi, where the Foundation helps rehabilitate monkeys rescued from the illegal pet trade, and in Sri Lanka, where a specially-modified Defender is able to reach and rescue orphaned baby elephants and other animals from the most challenging locations.
Mark Cameron Land Rover Global Brand Experience Director said: “Over the past decade we have enjoyed a successful and rewarding partnership with the Born Free Foundation, not least in being able to provide it with vehicles that have the strength and ability to work in some of the world’s most remote and demanding environments. We have seen what a difference the Foundation can make, not just in the rescue, care and protection of big cats and many other endangered species, but also in spreading awareness about how people can adapt their lives and attitudes to ensure a sustainable future for man and wildlife alike.
“By renewing our Global Conservation Partnership with the Born Free Foundation, we look forward to helping its teams undertake around the world to continue and extend the excellent work they do.”
Will Travers OBE, CEO of the Born Free Foundation, said: “The Born Free Foundation is on the front line of conservation and wild animal welfare and to get us to that front line we rely on Land Rovers. It is essential not only that we can get in to some truly challenging locations but that we can successfully carry out our mission and get out. Safety, security and reliability are paramount. That is why, on behalf of Born Free and our supporters all around the world, I am deeply appreciative of this renewed support and delighted that our vital partnership with Land Rover goes from strength to strength. “
For more information about the Born Free Foundation and its worldwide activities visit www. bornfree.org.uk
“Making the film in Kenya had a tremendous impact. Bill and I learned to love lions and love Africa. Guided by George and Joy we began to understand how every animal is individual and that wild animals belong in the wild.”
Born Free actress Virginia McKenna OBE with writer Paul Udoto